Technology Disrupts Technology Project In Indian Offices


Photo: The Economic Times of India

An ambitious Indian government plan to digitize all office files, to create paper-free work places, is being obstructed by desk staffers who, to the tune of 70% of them, use their desktop units to play YouTube videos – consuming huge amounts of bandwidth in the process.

The Economic Times’ New Delphi bureau said the issue was discussed last week at an e-office conference for all ministries. A presentation was made by the Rural Development Ministry, among the first to execute the ‘e office’ plan. It featured a demonstration of how a 700-page file could be scanned in about six minutes and how a digitized file could be retrieved in roughly five minutes.

But the high use of bandwidth for YouTube viewing has become such a problem that unless ministries curb their workers’ enthusiasm for them – whether they are or aren’t watching Larry David – the e office initiative simply won’t succeed, RDM Joint Secretary Santosh Mathew said.

Also impeding it, Mathew noted, is the fact that many junior-level workers are using monitors so small that they can’t read digitized files.

The glut of small monitors in the hands of lesser staffers is a result of them having been handed down through the ranks as higher-ups were upgraded to larger screens.

Mathew also sees a challenge in getting junior-level workers to go along with the e office scheme because it will enable managers to monitor their activities. High-ups already have the ability to determine who is spending ‘company time’ on video-watching, and the government is encouraging them to do so.

Mathew also noted that Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha would soon be writing to all ministers, asking them for a cut-off date after which they’d no longer be accepting paper files.

Space Exploration, And Explorers From Space – Which Matters Most, or At All?



Heaven knows (or at least poor people do) that terrestrial problems, issues of this world – issues such as clean water, rising earth temperatures, land too dry to farm, people virtually too poor to beg – can only be addressed with massive amounts of money, and human volunteer and paid-for effort.

And everyone – except the poor, who have heard it before, and no longer listen – knows that resources are limited, and ‘only so much can be done’ to address this, or that natural crisis, not to mention suddenly occurring disasters.

And still, and still: Nations as diverse as China and the United States are spending untold sums exploring areas of space no one is ever likely to visit, or call home, or – bottom line – realize any we-can’t-live-without benefits from.

The U.S. just achieved the remarkable feat of having a manmade craft enter the gravitational field of Jupiter, a planet some 2 billion miles from Earth, after a journey lasting 5 years. It’s not the first craft to have achieved that – The Galileo spacecraft spent eight years in the area, with far less capable technology than Juno’s, up to 2003, when it burned up in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

China's FAST telescope

Meanwhile, China is spending far smaller sums on a whole different kind of space exploration: Via a massive, ‘Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope’ (FAST) in Guizhou Province. It’s mission, as a recent article in Asia Times put it, is “answering that timelessly engrossing question: are we alone in the universe?”

There are those who believe that question has already been answered, and that, in ways not being revealed to the public, mankind (at least the American version) already is benefiting from technologies that could enable beings from elsewhere to visit Earth.

The Asia Times article includes a link to a fascinating hour-long film that includes a supposed interview session with a being from somewhere far beyond this planet – possibly even from a different dimension, and a different version of reality. Experts in several fields, including the study of concepts of extraterrestrial beings, film-making, and supposed goings-on at a highly classified site (many levels higher than ‘top secret’) in Nevada, appeared on camera and expressed their opinions as to whether the film, which is available (via our link) on YouTube, and the Extraterrestrial (ET) being it depicts, are real. Their answers varied, from ‘fake’ to ‘definitely real’.

The film included several photos of ‘flying saucer’-type spacecraft, supposedly not unlike vehicles ETs have, the film and the Chinese say, have used to come from ‘wherever’ to here – Earth. One technician, who reported having access to the engine from such a craft, said it appeared to be capable of enabling travel at the speed of light, or even faster.

If that is true – that there is such an engine with such capabilities, and the U.S. government is aware of it and is (or has already) reverse-engineered it to learn how it works – why is the U.S. continuing to use technology that causes a trip like Juno’s to Jupiter take five years?

All else aside – all else aside – that pretty much clinches the question for me as to whether or not mankind, at least the American version, has interacted with technology that would allow space travel at speeds we can only dream of today.

But I remain mystified why the U.S. government thinks it makes any sense to go to Jupiter, even if doing so might enable scientists to learn more about how our universe and the planets in it formed came to be.

We came to be, however we did. Let’s use that as a starting point, and work to deal with real issues of the planet we live on and how to ensure it remains livable well beyond the personal demise of its present residents.


Spaced Out: NASA ‘Finds’ 1,284 New Planets? And We Should Care Because …?


With an unending number of life-saving and life-style problems (not to mention war-caused ones) yet to be solved on this planet, assorted governments are unconscionably spending incredible sums of taxpayer (and looted) dollar/dollar equivalents on space exploration.

Regardless of how young you are, it is highly unlikely that your grandchildren, or even your great-grandchildren, will somehow – in any way – see a result from all this effort that may, just may, prove to be a benefit either to the survival of the human race and its environment or to solve the question ‘where did we, all of this, come from’.

Think of it this way: Say you’re a 25-year-old parent; your child becomes a 25-year-old parent, who becomes a 25-year-old parent. That first grandchild of his or hers first-born would arrive in the year 2066 – a mere fifty years from now.

NASA things we should have great hopes for those of that age.

I think they’re nuts!

Some are excited that NASA has ‘found and verified’ the existence of 1,284 new planets. I cannot comprehend what they means – given that the nearest of then is way beyond the pack-a-lunch range. Way beyond, in fact, any distance man could travel in a lifetime, as we know it.

NASA speculates there may be another ‘world’ among that mass of objects; A world that may be somewhat like our own. (There are increasing reasons why that fate should not be wished on anyone, anywhere!)

And we should be spending hundreds of millions – or more – to ‘prove’ that’s so, and then plan to spend even more trying to determine if, as popular songs have asked, “is there life out there”. . . why?

I considerable myself to be fairly liberal. But I’m a bend-over-backwards conservative when it comes to wasting tax payers dollars on space exploration.

Look up. Enjoy the view of the stars – and perhaps a planet or comet or two – and consider it to be, as it is, an un-understandable feature of the universe you live in.

Then go back to imaging how you, as an individual, might contribute, or add to, the richness of this world.

This is a world wracked with problems – with starving people, with failed or failing economies, with diseases that could, with enough funding behind them, be stopped, or cured.

Still, millions are spent on super telescopes and other means of exploring that vast void beyond us; Millions that might better be spent, in whole or part, on dealing with earth-based issues.

Might be, and should be!


FBI Blew $1m Hacking an iPhone – For Nothing!



Something needs to be done to reign in U.S. intelligence agencies – particularly when they act totally unintelligently. Example: The FBI just blew more than $1 million to hack the iPhone used by San Bernardo shooter Syed Rizwan Farook in an attempt to tie him to some terrorist plot beyond the one he and his wife cooked up. The result: Nada. Nothing – of value – was learned.

Not even, would you believe, how to hack an iPhone a couple of months, weeks or days from now, after Apple has tightened the security even more than it already was.

The Wall Street Journal quoted FBI director James Comey, who’s lied to the American people and to Congress in the past, as saying that expenditure “was worth it.” A Reuters report said Comey noted that sum of taxpayers’ dollars was “a lot —  more than I will make in the remainder of this job, which is seven years and four months for sure.”

In 1789, in the year before his death, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy that, “‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” We can only hope that’s true of the term of James Comey.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on October 22, 2015 (see minutes 13:00-16:00 and 19:09-19:12) he declares that the assorted agencies charged with one or another aspect of the country’s security “use, collect and share intelligence in everything we do” – supposedly “better” since 9/11 than earlier, but, as the evidence shows, they seem to do so no more intelligently, or in any more an appropriately coordinated fashion, or much (if any) more successfully than was the case before 9/11.

How hard is it, really, to keep track of individuals who, for whatever reason, are on the FBI ‘watch’ list – who, for whatever reason, are considered to fit a profile of someone with harmful intents on the country? Apparently way harder than the modern-day FBI is capable of.

Comey argues that it is necessary for the FBI to be able to break or bypass encryption of private communications between citizens to further the cause of … what, freedom? One arguing against that view is Gen. Michael Hayden, the retired head of the U.S. National Security Agency, and he said as much as a conference on security issues in Miami Beach.

“I disagree with [FBI director] Jim Comey,” Hayden said in a speech. “I actually think end-to-end encryption is good for America.”

Before the bureau was shown the pricey method, investigators had claimed the phone could only be accessed with Apple’s assistance, The Hill reported. The Justice Department obtained a court order directing the tech giant to help unlock the phone, setting off a high-profile standoff when Apple refused.

Apple insisted that complying would set a dangerous precedent that would allow the government to ask other companies to intentionally undermine their security features, imperiling global digital security and online privacy.

The FBI countered that its request was narrowly tailored to the case at hand.

The court battle sparked a heated debate on Capitol Hill, as some lawmakers jumped to Apple’s defense, while others called on the Silicon Valley stalwart to help law enforcement.

The government eventually dropped its court order after purchasing the intrusion method from third-party hackers.

But because of the exorbitant costs to this approach, the FBI has said it cannot rely on paying outside hackers to get around secure devices.

“These solutions are very case-by-case specific,” said Amy Hess, the FBI’s executive assistant director for science and technology, during a House hearing this week.

“They’re very dependent on the fragility of the system,” she added. “And also they’re very time intensive and resource intensive, which may not be scalable.”


I will be very appreciative if you will encourage your friends, family and colleagues to check out what my two blogs – Food and – do in the interest of providing information you might, otherwise, never become aware of. You never know: Some of my research could prove useful, or possibly amusing, to you (and/or them).

I also encourage you to check out the blogs of people I am following and Commotion In The Pews, a blog I stumbled upon a year or so ago. The author of the latter is a fascinating guy who cultivates the appearance of the character he plays through a good part of December each year: Santa Claus.

Monster Ramp, 197-feet long, Lets 7-Year Old Move From House To Street Via Wheelchair


Lally House before


Lally House after

Katie Lally is seven years old. She and her mum live it a council flat (a subsidized apartment) in a town just north of Glasgow, Scotland. Katie uses a wheelchair. In its wisdom, the West Dunbartonshire Town Council placed them in a third floor flat. Getting Katie to ground level – or back up again – is a nightmare, her mum told The Guardian.

She tried for three years to get the council to move them to a first-floor flat. Exhibiting further wisdom (except of things to do with wheel chairs), the council instead choose to erect, at considerable tax payer expense, a zig-zag, ten-level ramp extending 60 meters (196.85 feet) from their building’s door to street level.

While that ramp does not address the issue of moving the child from several stories above ground level to the building’s door, it most certainly does provides access – albeit probably not at all easy access – between the two outdoor levels, albeit at a cost of some £40,000 ($57,163).

The Guardian says the council “apparently told Lally that the giant ramp was the only option because of building regulations.

“There must have been a better,” Lally told the paper. “The council could have gone about the whole project in a more sensible way.”

That statement demonstrates, the paper said, Lally was “fundamentally misunderstanding the joy of spending tens of thousands of pounds of public money on a cross between a fairgrounds ride and the most terrifying steel construction this side of a post-apocalyptic war zone.”